Reading on the road: the book selection of the month

I had another busy month with a lot of travel, writing, but also interesting reading. Some of the books I selected for ths month can be good recommendations for travellers, writers or not.

As a faithful admirer of London, I was very happy to start reading Ben Aaronovitch Rivers of London. The descriptions of the streets and boroughs are very accurate and the author has an extraordinary power to create ambiances and to build powerful scenes. My disengagement started when I got more into the story, with vampires, spirits and other otherwordly creatures. It is my second book with vampires – the first one was a pathetic romance of shopping vampires that I left after 10 pages – and I promise to do not repeat the experience. I’m simply not into such stories, what can I do? But the author is talented and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of London, in my opinion.

I continued with a very practical book: Escape Guide to the Ultimate Gap Year, by Amar Hussein. One may learn in detail the practicalities of such an important decision, the costs, how to build motivation, to plan and to pitch your career break to your current boss. As I am thinking to have my own RTW trip, I’d found a lot of valuable information about how to book the world ticket, what trips can be included and what are the best platforms to bargain tickets – such as Flight Fox. It is an easy and very useful read. 

I did not like Eat. Pray. Love not because of the writing – captivating from time to time – but because I’ve found the approach and the topic itself too soap opera-like and superficial for me. When I saw at my local library the continuation of the book – Committed – I was not sure that I would like to pick it from the shelf, but with some train trips in sight, I decided that I can give a try. Plus, I did not hear people talking about that book all over the web so maybe there it is something different. Do not expect an extraordinary piece of travel writing and the commercial framework was kept unfortunately. However, besides the good writing, the book has interesting anthropological and sociological observations about marriage and the author uses her human sensibility when approaching different cultures and civilizations encountered during her journeys. I will give it three stars, but I am very curious to read some more books and articles by Gilbert.

Diplomatic travels are a completely different categories of journeys, during which the world is discovered from the perspective of the power dynamics. I was curious to have a look into Kim Ghattas‘ account of her media journeys with the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. A curious inquiry about power and autonomy and the daily immersion into a fascinating world that it is much better to read about. 

My 5-star recommendation of the month is for Judith Fein, Life is a trip. Excellent and inspiring writing, interesting stories and angles. In her own words: ‘I have never really been interested in the mainstream. Actually, most people are fascinated by the mainstream, so the mainstream doesn’t need my interest. What makes my ticker beat faster is discovering voices, people, places, realities that are not generally known’. That is exactly I am looking for too, even though I am still far away from accomplishing.

During my lovely time spent in Wales and Britain, I enjoyed browsing the pages of the September edition of National Traveller. My attention was caught by interesting reports about: Ethiopia, that I hope to visit one day; Tasmania; the Scottish Highlands that maybe will be my next big UK destination and Sri Lanka. 

That’s all for now. Meanwhile, the list of recommendations for the next month is already in the making! Till then, happy reading!

PS. I am planning to add a monthly post about movies so stay tuned for more recommendations!

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